Culture or Taxes? The Conceptions of Citizenship of Migrants and Local Factory Workers in Italy

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A number of studies of everyday citizenship have shown that the way in which the ordinary population of a state thinks of citizenship is not unilaterally determined by the conceptions present in state's citizenship law. This work looks at what migrants and local factory workers in Ferrara (Northern Italy) think of citizenship, and what conceptions can be found behind their opinions. The research is based on 60 in-depth interviews with migrants of different origins and professions and local factory workers. While scholars consider the Italian citizenship law to be closed towards both the immigrants and those born in Italy from non-citizens, most of the interviewees have expressed the preference for the ius soli and shorter residence requirements. Almost all the interviewees believed that people with a penal record should not be naturalised, and some of the interviewees have expressed cultural conceptions of citizenship that could be demanding of the candidates. However, the stronger consensus was for a lighter, economic conception of the citizen as anyone who works and pays taxes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)676-689
JournalCitizenship Studies
Issue number6-7
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Citizenship
  • Migrants
  • Workers
  • Rights
  • Social construction
  • Non-citizen


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